Light Up the Neighborhood. That’s Youngstown’s newest initiative to get its communities out of the dark when the sun goes down.
They’re tackling the streetlight issue one segment of the city at a time in partnership with Ohio Edison.
Mayor Tito Brown and other council members say streetlights have been an issue across the city for a long time. Either there aren’t enough, or the ones that are there don’t work well. Mayor Brown hopes the Light Up the Neighborhood initiative helps fix the issue quickly.
“We want to make sure that everyone, no matter where you live, you should feel safe and have the lights on in your neighborhood,” Brown said.
WKBN 27 First News This Morning anchor Chelsea Spears highlighted this problem in her investigative report: Poorly-lit roads around Valley concern police and neighbors
Downtown Youngstown is thriving during the day, but when the sun sets it’s a different story. Ed Moses, co-owner of V2 Wine Bar and Bistro, says downtown sits in the dark and it scares customers away.
“It’s too dark down here at night. Some places are too dark. People are afraid to go down here,” Moses said. “People are starting to come back downtown. They want to feel safe. They want to feel comfortable.”
Ohio Edison spokesperson Chris Eck said they are focusing on efficiency with outages getting repaired within three days. They are also breaking up the city into targeted segments.
First on the list is downtown. Eck said half the battle is getting people to report faulty lights.
“Sometimes people don’t report them. In the commercial districts, oftentimes nobody feels like they have ownership of the light to report it,’ Eck said.
The plan is to have all downtown streetlights fixed by the end of July.
“That sounds exciting. They gotta let people know and promote it when they do it. Let people know they made these changes and that it’s much safer – come down,” Moses said.
Mayor Brown says this round of work is about maintaining and fixing lights downtown and throughout the city. He said in the long-term his administration plans to implement LED lights, which are much brighter and more energy efficient.
You can report a street light outage to Ohio Edison online at https://www.firstenergycorp.com/service_requests/report-lighting-problem.html. Outages can also be reported by phone at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).
Include the following when reporting a lighting issue:
- Name and phone number
- Address where light is located – nearest house, business or cross street
- Number on the utility pole
- What is wrong with the light (i.e. damaged, light out, flickering, etc.)